Is Antenatal Screening for Rubella and Cytomegalovirus Justified?

S Afr Med J. 1993 Feb;83(2):108-10.


Altogether 2,250 asymptomatic pregnant women attending an antenatal clinic were investigated for serological evidence of past exposure to rubella and cytomegalovirus (CMV) as well as for active primary infection or reinfection/reactivation. Only 7 (0.3%) active rubella infections were diagnosed, none of them primary. Similarly, out of 132 patients with active CMV, only 5 primary infections (3.8%) were diagnosed; the vast majority--127 (96%)--had reactivation infections. No congenital rubella infections were detected, while the transplacental transmission rate for CMV was 6.4%. None of the infants followed up was clinically affected at birth or at 6 months. No racial differences in seroprevalences for CMV or rubella immunoglobulin were observed, but immunoglobulin antibody prevalence to CMV was significantly lower in the white group. From this study there appeared to be no indication for routine antenatal screening for CMV in asymptomatic mothers.

MeSH terms

  • Carrier State / diagnosis
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / transmission
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis*
  • Prenatal Care
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Rubella / diagnosis*
  • Rubella / transmission
  • Serologic Tests